The Final Calling: Progress Report Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen is now online.

The serial is paid for through Chapter Twenty-Two.

I’m writing Chapter Twenty-Four.

Chapter Twenty will be posted Wednesday, October 27th.

In case anyone missed it, I posted slightly revised versions of Chapter Eleven, Chapter Sixteen, and Chapter Eighteen last week, correcting the Sardironese in Chapter Eleven and adding some details I’d forgotten.

Realms of Light should go to press any day now, if it hasn’t already.

The Wildside Press double edition of The Cyborg and the Sorcerers and The Wizard and the War Machine is out; I’ll be getting my copies Friday.

Alter Ego #97 should be out this week, reprinting my long feature article, “The Other Guys,” about pre-Code horror comics publishers other than EC. (Sorry I don’t have a link.)

Busy week.

30 thoughts on “The Final Calling: Progress Report Nineteen

  1. That was a tidy little chapter; an interesting summery of the various points of view on the situation neatly encapsulating brief recaps of not one but two novels. I was a little surprised to hear Sterren as the voice for the persistance of warlockry and giving Ithinia the finger, and to hear that Hanner didn’t want to be a warlock anymore.

    Random, purely bookkeeping, question from going back to the previous chapters to see the edits; the big canyon/valley between Calimor and Eknissamor that can’t be crossed without magic (or, one presumes, going way around)- does this have a name? (I assume, in typical Ethshar fashion, something like “the Grand Canyon.”)

  2. Sterren impresses me as a very reasonable sort, one who considers the rights/feelings of everyone. I think that’s why he did a good job as Chancellor/Regent. He is fair and considerate. I totally get why he is a bit peeved at the idea that the Wizard’s Guild wants to “end” warlockry. It strikes me that his nature recoils from that sort of strong-arming. In their way, they are exerting the same sort of arrogant force of will that Vond did before he was called, and Sterren has seen too much of that up close not to be wary of it.

  3. >>I was a little surprised to hear Sterren as the voice for the persistance of warlockry…

    Sterren IS a warlock. Mostly by choice he is a very weak one, but he can’t change the fact. He needs for warlocks to be tolerated, at least as long as they are orderly. Some might say meek.


  4. I enjoyed this chapter a lot.

    One small nit-pick:

    Sterren has already heard the story of the Guild’s intervention from Vond.

    There may be a reason that he doesn’t mention this fact, but I just thought I’d bring it up.


  5. Sterren is pretty smart. He wouldn’t disclose what he knows until he needs to. There could very easily be an advantage to pretending to be ignorant.

  6. Yes, Sterren is a warlock. And yeah, he’s good at not telling people what he knows, but I probably should have given a hint that he wants to compare Hanner’s version of the Guild’s actions with Vond’s.

    There aren’t necessarily exactly thirteen chapters left; that’s an estimate. I’ve diverged far enough from my outline (which didn’t have a chapter-by-chapter breakdown in the first place) that I’m really not sure how long it’ll be. At an absolute minimum it’ll be twenty-six chapters, and I’d really need to drastically change my plans to do that, but I don’t know what the maximum would be — sometimes things take longer than I expect. Thirty-two is merely my best guess.

  7. I’m a bit hesitant to try to tell you how to write, but it seems to me that we get nothing added to this chapter by telling it from Hammar’s PoV. His attitudes and knowldge come out almost entirely in the dialogue. Meanwhile, you want to slip in that Sterren is comparing Vond and Hammar’s stories and that he’s not telling everything. That’s much easier from Sterren’s PoV. I’d shift the entire chapter from Hammar to Sterren, it shouldn’t be a hard change and makes fitting in some information easier.

  8. Doug, yeah, but I liked the pattern of alternating Hanner/non-Hanner chapters, and I did want to get in the physical description of Sterren as Hanner sees him.

  9. A nice chapter. Felt more like recap to me, though. A random thought – the nature of this serial-type publishing is somewhat similar to manga, with bits of story coming out each week. There is one distinct advantage to this from my (the readers) point of view (may be seen as a disadvantage at times) -is duration and some level of stability. I have been the other book I await eagerly (Towers of midnight), when the though hit me: I’ll read ToM, when it comes out, in a day or two at most -and that is it! A year of waiting, anticipation, etc -all gone in one short burst. (And I certainly have no willpower to delay reading -i’d rather stop sleeping.. or eating…etc). Here, now we have a manageable interval (one week), and enough of the story to last for almost a year, which is very nice, albeit frustrating at times. Maybe other authors can take the leaf from Lawrence’s book and publish some books in such a format (some side projects or something)…Would be nice.

  10. I think my favorite part of the chapter is the way you contrast Sterren and Hanner and make it clear that, while both are admirable and sympathetic characters, and neither one ever particularly wanted to be a warlock, they’re different in some very fundamental ways. Hanner’s “I gave my word” is a really elegant illustration; to him, that’s all that needs to be said, and to Sterren, the ultimate pragmatist, it’s incomprehensible. I continue to be awed by how much you can communicate with just a few words.

  11. Certainly it’s a challenge to take two characters who were formerly sympathetic protagonists and mix them into one novel now. The structure of the Ethshar novels continues to evolve with the original being first person blidinx romans to some being much more adult in theme and structure. I am certainly enjoying being immersed in the creative process, as it were.

    Sorry for the spelling errors.

  12. One thing that should be pointed out is that neither Hanner nor Sterren know that the Lumeth source is the atmosphere plant for the entire World. I have to keep reminding myself of why Ithinia does not want any Lumeth warlocks at least in part.

  13. Well, Hanner certainly doesn’t know. Sterren may have received the report from Lars, so he may know. Or he may have forgotted about this long since.

  14. I don’t know…”Don’t mess with the doohickey, it makes all the air and we’ll all die if it breaks” isn’t the sort of thing I’d expect someone to forget!

  15. But Ithinia didn’t say, “Don’t mess with it, it makes all the air.” She just said, “The Guild has reasons of its own to want those towers preserved, and we have safeguards in place,” and that Sterren “would be well advised to not ask any more questions about anything in Lumeth.”

    The thinly veiled threat there would have been far more than sufficient to dissuade anyone with any sense at all. Though I do recall thinking that Ithinia did reveal much more to Sterren than I would otherwise have expected. Details regarding the flutes and the transportation spell, and especially the detail about Morkai’s “dagger” containing a piece of his soul. I was actually pretty shocked she let that slip.

  16. Ithinia is a chatty cathy, but what can you expect? Senior people are often the biggest risk for leaks because they’re used to saying and doing whatever they want, and no one can discipline them.

  17. Matt: That is the most cynically cogent thing I have ever heard. Part of it too is loneliness. Ithinia is eternally young but she does not have a lot of people around her that she considers a colleague. LWE: I was wondering if Ithinia was modeled after anyone? She’s in a lot of these stories. I was wondering if that was a by-product of her being the Guildmaster of Ethshar of the Spices or simply a convenient character that you enjoy using?

  18. No, she’s not modeled after anyone in particular. And she appears a lot because she’s the senior Guildmaster.

  19. It’s an interesting contrast, seeing relatively straightforward wizards like Tobas and then the almost-Machiavellian Ithinia.

    Is there any chance that you’ll ever tell the story of how Athamezation was discovered and/or how the Guild came to power?

  20. No, I’d say there’s really no chance at all I’ll tell how athamezation was discovered, but I might someday write something about the rise of the Wizards’ Guild. (I wouldn’t say “came to power,” exactly.)

  21. >>no chance at all I’ll tell how athamezation was discovered

    Wizard tries putting part of his soul in a spoon. Doesn’t work. Tries a fork next. Nothing interesting there. Wizard almost gives up hope of succeeding in his life’s work. Contemplates suicide. In fact, he has the knife ready to plunge into his heart. But then inspiration strikes!

    More seriously: Is it because it wouldn’t make an interesting story or because it would give away too many other secrets?


  22. It’s not because it would give away secrets. About half of it is because I don’t think it would make a good story, and the other half is that that era in Ethshar’s history is so different I’d practically need to design the World from scratch. I know the general history of the World right from the Year of Speech, but the culture before about YS 4850 I’ve never worked out in detail. It doesn’t resemble post-war Ethshar any more than, say, present-day France resembles pre-Revolutionary France.

  23. Given that both the main countries from that time have ceased to exist (one through falling apart and one through magical gods and demons inflicted holocaust) and that the later era’s superpowere isn’t even colonized it sounds more like the world of the ottoman empire v modern world…

    Which isn’t to discount the work in setting up a new era… More that sounds like the analogy of pre v post revolution france might be lowballing it.

    But it’d still be interesting to get a window into the pre-War world to see how much it did change.

  24. Yeah, the France comparison is far from perfect, but it was the first that came to mind.

    It might be interesting seeing Old Ethshar, but it isn’t going to happen, because I don’t want to do it.

  25. Well, that’s a fair answer, and the stories set in the Hegemony are as interesting as anyone could ask for. Looking forward to the next chapter!

  26. >Well, that’s a fair answer, and the stories set in the Hegemony are as
    >interesting as anyone could ask for. Looking forward to the next chapter!



  27. Really, the more I think about it there are very few examples in Earth history that are nearly the discontinuity that the Great War caused. On Earth people went on somewhere even when a former center of learning fell into a dark age. In the World of Ethshar, even “modern” history is iffy… And there are people who have been around for all of it.

    Anywho, I’m not going to complain about not seeing the pre-war World. Though obviously I’ll always wonder about the nooks and crannies we haven’t gotten to see.

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